Friday, November 7

Does Goerge Bush "get it", as they say? Ive had my doubts about the guy before, but this is what the world needs more of (Via Best of the Web).

In a speech marking the 20th anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy, President Bush this morning affirmed America's commitment to democracy in the Muslim world:

*** QUOTE ***

Some skeptics of democracy assert that the traditions of Islam are inhospitable to the representative government. This "cultural condescension," as Ronald Reagan termed it, has a long history. After the Japanese surrender in 1945, a so-called Japan expert asserted that democracy in that former empire would "never work." Another observer declared the prospects for democracy in post-Hitler Germany are, and I quote, "most uncertain at best"--he made that claim in 1957. Seventy-four years ago, the Sunday London Times declared nine-tenths of the population of India to be "illiterates not caring a fig for politics." Yet when Indian democracy was imperiled in the 1970s, the Indian people showed their commitment to liberty in a national referendum that saved their form of government.

Time after time, observers have questioned whether this country, or that people, or this group, [is] "ready" for democracy--as if freedom were a prize you win for meeting our own Western standards of progress. In fact, the daily work of democracy itself is the path of progress. It teaches cooperation, the free exchange of ideas, and the peaceful resolution of differences. As men and women are showing, from Bangladesh to Botswana, to Mongolia, it is the practice of democracy that makes a nation ready for democracy, and every nation can start on this path.

It should be clear to all that Islam--the faith of one-fifth of humanity--is consistent with democratic rule. Democratic progress is found in many predominantly Muslim countries--in Turkey and Indonesia, and Senegal and Albania, Niger and Sierra Leone. Muslim men and women are good citizens of India and South Africa, of the nations of Western Europe, and of the United States of America.

*** END QUOTE ***

Having sat through about twenty too many debates about "Are Africans ready for democracy?", its great hearing this. Actions speak louder then words, but ideas also matter. If freedom is to spread then this is the idea that will make it happen. Democracy is not the end goal, is is just the process. Everyone deserves to be part of the process.

Now if only Zimbabwe would strike oil...

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